Guam – The Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) has been informed that an outbreak of Rubella (German measles) is currently occurring in Fiji. The Fiji Ministry of Health has reported that there have been 11 confirmed cases of rubella. Most cases have been reported in the greater Suva area.
Rubella is a moderately contagious disease of the respiratory tract. The symptoms of rubella include mild fever, rash, runny nose, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, and aching joints. Although the rubella symptoms are mild, infection is more severe in early pregnancy and may cause a variety of birth defects or may even lead to a miscarriage.
It would be advisable for persons traveling to these areas to make sure they have been vaccinated for rubella (given in combination with the measles and mumps vaccines) before departing. Since travelers from this area pass through Guam, it is also possible that the disease may be brought here.
DPHSS encourages pregnant women to protect themselves and parents to protect their infants and young children by minimizing exposure (close contact) to persons who have a rash-like illness and cold symptoms. Parents should check their children’s immunization (shot) records to ensure they received all age-appropriate vaccines. All parents should ensure that their child receives the first dose of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine at 12 months of age, then a second dose of MMR vaccine at 4-6 years of age. All physicians are advised to routinely check if their patients are appropriately vaccinated.
All health care providers on Guam are urged to be alert for possible cases of rubella and to promptly report suspect cases to the Immunization Program, Bureau of Communicable Disease Control, at 735-7143/7148 or 735-7135.
For more information, please call the Department of Public Health and Social Services’ Immunization Program at 735-7143.